Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Beginning at the level of the diaphragm, the abdominal aorta is a the third and final section of the aorta artery, which is the largest blood vessel of the body. It is a direct continuation of the thoracic aorta, running down the posterior wall of the abdomen, anterior to the vertebral column, and parallel to the inferior vena cava. As it travels down the abdomen, the abdominal aorta gives off several branches: celiac artery, superior mesenteric artery, inferior mesenteric artery, suprarenal arteries (paired), renal arteries (paired), internal spermatic arteries (paired), and ovarian arteries (paired). As it descends, the abdominal aorta becomes smaller in diameter as it gives off branches, ending at a point where it splits into two smaller arteries: the common iliac arteries. The abdominal aorta supplies oxygenated blood to the organs of the abdominal cavity.